Since few studies have evaluated short-term psychosocial treatments with physically abused school-aged children and their offending parents or families, the current study compared the treatment outcomes of 55 cases that were randomly assigned to individual child and parent cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or family therapy (FT) with those who received routine community services (RCS).
Measures of child, parent, and family dysfunction and adjustment were administered to children and parents, supplemented with official social service records in evaluating the efficacy of treatment in a 1-year follow-up. Compared with RCS, CBT and FT were associated with improvements in child-to-parent violence and child externalizing behavior, parental distress, and child abuse risk, and family conflict and cohesion. All three conditions showed several improvements across time. One parent participant each in CBT and FT and three in RCS were found to have engaged in another incident of child physical maltreatment after treatment had begun. No differences between CBT and FT were observed on consumer satisfaction or maltreatment risk ratings at termination. The findings of this evaluation provide additional support for the continued development and evaluation of individual and family treatments that involve child victims of physical abuse. (publisher abstract modified)
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